CBI searches at premises of RJD leaders on day of Nitish Kumar's floor test

The CBI on Wednesday carried out searches at 25 locations, including at an under-construction mall in Gurugram believed to being built by a firm owned by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav

CBI searches at premises of RJD leaders on day of Nitish Kumar's floor test
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PTI

The CBI on Wednesday carried out searches at 25 locations, including at an under-construction mall in Gurugram believed to being built by a firm owned by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, in connection with the alleged land-for-jobs scam, officials said.

The searches are being carried out in Delhi, Gurugram, Patna, Madhubani, Katihar among others. The under-construction Urban Cubes mall in sector 71 of Gurugram is being constructed by a company Whiteland in which Yadav's family has a stake in ownership, they said.

The search operation comes on a day when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who parted ways with the BJP to ally with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), is set to face a trust vote in the state assembly.

The searches are being carried out at the premises of several senior leaders of the RJD including MLC Sunil Singh and Rajya Sabha MPs Ashfaque Karim and Faiyaz Ahmad and former MLC Subodh Rai, they said.

As the CBI team carried out searches at his premises in Patna, MLC Singh, known to be close to RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, said, "This is 100 per cent intentional. These people have entered my house without even informing the local police. They are asking me to sign a document".

Singh's wife said, "My husband is being victimised because of his loyalties. The CBI will get nothing from our place. I will sue the agency for defamation".


RJD spokesman Shakti Singh Yadav said, "I am hardly surprised. I had, in a tweet last night itself, had spoken of ED, CBI and IT planning their next operation in Bihar."

"Be it ED or CBI, all such raids are carried out to benefit the BJP," alleged RJD Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha.

Congress spokesperson Asit Nath Tiwari said that with a change of guard, these officials may end up being probed by the very agencies in which they are holding posts.

"Officials of these agencies should remember that neither Hitler nor Mussolini lasted in power forever," he said.

JD(U) chief spokesman and MLC Neeraj Kumar described the raids as "a dangerous game of 'shakti parikshan' (test of strength) by the central government in Bihar through CBI and ED".

The alleged scam took place during the tenure of Prasad as Union railway minister.

The case in which searches are being conducted was registered on May 18 against RJD supremo Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, and daughters Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav, in addition to 12 people who were given jobs in Railway zones of Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur, Hajipur in 2008-09, the officials said.

The central agency had registered a preliminary enquiry on September 23, 2021 related to the land-for-jobs scam in Railways.

The candidates were allegedly appointed as substitutes in group D positions within three days of applying in "undue haste" by Railway officials and were later regularised "in lieu thereof the individuals themselves or their family members transferred their land," according to the agency.

The transfers were made through three sale deeds in the name of Rabri Devi and one in the name of Misa Bharti and two gift deeds in the name of Hema Yadav, the agency alleged.

The agency has alleged that land measuring about 1.05 lakh square feet in Patna was acquired by Prasad's family members by making payments to the sellers in cash.

"The current value of the above said seven parcels of land, including the land acquired through gift deeds, as per the existing circle rate is about Rs 4.39 crore.... Enquiry has revealed that the parcel of land, which was directly purchased by the family members of Lalu Prasad from the sellers, was purchased at lower rates than the prevailing circle rates," the FIR has alleged.

It had alleged that people were appointed in the railways without any advertisement or public notice issued for the purpose on the basis of forged documents.

The 'Mahagathbandhan', which comprises Bihar chief minister's JD(U), besides RJD, Congress, CPI(ML), CPI and CPI(M), has a combined strength of more than 160 in the 243-strong House.

After weeks of simmering tension between the JD(U) and BJP over caste census, population control and the Agnipath' defence recruitment scheme and a tiff over the continuation of 71-year old Nitish Kumar's former confidante RCP Singh as a central cabinet minister, the regional party on August 9 severed alliance with the BJP.

The JD(U) joined the Mahagathbandhan comprising RJD, Congress, Left parties and other regional parties with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav becoming deputy chief minister.

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